There are no Frustrated Plans with God

The plans and purposes of God are never frustrated.

This phrase resonated with me this morning. For the past ten days or so, I have been battling with a virus infection. It’s been a brute – laying me flat, zapping me of all energy, motivation, and drive. As a result, I was put on bed rest for five of those days. I am finally starting to return to the land of the health, but I confess that this illness frustrated me to no end.

Was God frustrated by my illness?

Probably not.

I wanted Him to be though – There are times when I just want Him to do what I want Him to do – for my benefit. I desired to be well and get on with my life. I prayed and prayed and prayed that this illness would lessen its grip on my body. Granted, we’re talking ten days of not feeling well. It’s a virus. It’s not cancer or some other debilitating disease, ailment, or disability. Honestly, I needed to get over myself.

Maybe that’s the point.

Flat on my back, devoid of energy, motivation gone, nearly at the end of myself, and quiet – with space to think and to pray – I’ve been given time to rest. My preference is to work. My desire is to keep moving. My goal is to exercise daily. My drive is to go, go, go. My motivation is to be strong and healthy. And I have been. This has been a full year of family, ministry and life. We have accomplished a lot this year. I’m grateful.

And yet, my God desires me to be near Him. He wants me to slow down long enough to meditate on His word and to receive His counsel. He has divine wisdom to share with me for the present day and for the future.

Does it take an illness to realign my focus?

Sometimes.

My God has a plan. Every object, every event, every person, and yes, every illness I encounter and experience in life occur according to the plans and purposes of my God. Sometimes, that doesn’t quite feel right – especially when I am laid flat on my back. However, there is so much more going on in the spiritual realm of God that I may not see – especially if I am on the go.

This truth is emphasized in the words of Paul to the Ephesian Church:

In Him, we were chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of Him who works out everything in conformity and purpose of His will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of His glory.

New International Version, Ephesians 1: 11-12

You see, the plan and purpose of God is to bring all people, regardless of culture, country of origin, race, belief system, gender, intellectual capacity, economic status, strength, and motivation to eternal salvation through Jesus Christ. It’s not about us doing this salvation work. We cannot. We have no power to overcome sin and death without the resurrecting power of our Savior. We must come to the end of ourselves and confess our need of Him and Him alone.

The Lord desires us to be an even more glorious people than the stereotypes, labels and descriptions we may be ascribed by situation or circumstance – even like an illness – on this earth. The Lord is interested in gathering us up to Himself in a meaningfully intimate way. He desires to impart His deepest counsel and wisdom. In this way, as we receive His guidance, His mercy, grace, goodness, truth, wisdom, kindness and love. Then, all of these gifts of God flow out of our lives in response to those around us. This should be our aim – loving God and loving others with all we have!

Yet, in the midst of our lives, the Lord can be conspicuous and illusive all at the same time, can’t He? That can be frustrating at times – especially if we think He is not acting fast enough, doing enough, or responding in the time and space that we want Him to. Yet, He continues to act, to work, to respond, to listen, to care, and to produce according to His will both in and out of sight – whether we completely understand what is going on or not.

God’s enduring counsel stands.

As a result, the plans and purposes of God are never frustrated.

This may be a difficult pill to swallow. There is so much going on in this world that fails to make much sense. If we solely focus upon these earthly matters, we are vulnerable to despair.

Yet, our hope is in Christ and not in the things of this world.

If I am solely focusing upon my health as the end-all for my satisfaction and purpose, I will be disappointed. My health ebbs and flows. It isn’t consistent. Germs abound. I’m vulnerable to infection, especially if my immunity is low. My body is frail and finite.  But even in my frailty, my God still speaks to me and imparts His knowledge. He fills me with His love. His purposes in my life are not thwarted because of my ten-day infection. He has a plan set in place for my life and He is continuing to work it out day after day after day after day. I need to rest in that.

Ann-Voskamp-Quote-God-s-purposes-are-not-for-me-to-understand-His

So, my friends, are you struggling with a person, situation or circumstance like I have been the past two weeks? Do you seek resolution so that you can keep on keeping on?

I get it.

I’m with you.

But more importantly, your God is with you.

His plans for your life are not slowed frustrated, off track, or misaligned by the various people and circumstances you face. He is acting. He is working. He is guiding. He is helping. He is providing for you in seen and unseen ways until the breakthrough ultimately comes.

In the meantime, what are we to do?

We are asked to draw long and deep from our God and trust Him to work this circumstance and need out according to His time, His space, His purpose, and His will.

We are asked to praise and magnify His name. Because, my friends, ultimately we live for the honor and glory of Jesus Christ and not ourselves.

Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

New International Version, Colossians 3: 1-4

Yes, I’ve been ill for a period of time. Yes, I want to be better. However, slowing down, drawing deep, and being close to my God is what I desire more. I do not want to miss out on anything He has to say to me.

Be encouraged, my friend.

The plans and purposes of the Lord are never frustrated.

Do you believe that?

10 Comments

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  1. Thank you – I needed that today!

  2. We are constantly wanting things “right now” in our culture. Sometimes we forget that God does everything in His time. I know I’ve been praying about something for a long times, and I start to get frustrated. Getting frustrated is to say that you do not trust in God.

    • Hi Harley, waiting is an active deal, isn’t it? I think it’s okay to own that feeling of frustration though. Especially when you’ve prayed for something a long time and on the surface of things, it appears that the wait is never-ending. I guess I feel like it’s okay to tell God how you feel – even when you’re frustrated – it may not be an issue of trust at all. You still trust, but the wait is hard.

      • Yes.. I often get to the point where I feel lost. Then I remember that I have given my life to the Lord. I do ask why, since I’ve been praying for months now, my prayers seem to be going unanswered. And then… He tells me to wait.

        It’s very natural to get frustrated, especially if you’re looking for an answer on big problems.

        I often ask Him why I have this mental disorder, but I really haven’t gotten an answer to it yet. I was talking to the pastor’s wife about it, and she told me that God didn’t have a hand in me having a mental illness bc he heals, not destroys. She told me that God can twist the bad things around that Satan has created… like my mental illness.

        Which leads me to the fact that I was called to be a counselor in the Christian faith. God took my 21 years of suffering, and turned it around so that I would be empathetic, and use what things I had learned over the years. And of course, everything I’m going to learn. God wants me to help the wounded Christian, or those who have given up hope.

      • Hi Harley, thank you for your thoughtful response. Waiting is tough at times. However, there is always some kind of activity in waiting too. Your struggle and acceptance of your mental illness gives others on a similar journey hope. You are a safe person to confide. That’s empowerment. I saw a quote recently by Joni Eareckson Tada that said something to the effect that God hates the terrible things that happen in our life, but permits what He hates to accomplish what He loves. I believe this is happening in your life as you pursue being a counselor. That’s courage, in my book!

      • Thank you, Heather. I was talking with my Pastor’s wife (who happens to also be the assistant Pastor). She brought to light that God wants to take things that have happened to us and nurture them into something positive that He sees as an important step in our journey.

        I had never thought about going back to school. It never even entered my mind (not including that rare month when I thought I should go to cosmetology school). Then I woke up in bed one morning, sorting my head out, getting ready for the day, and having prayer/praise time. All of a sudden, I was on my phone looking up Christian schools. I had heard of Liberty University before, so I went there, looked around at their degrees, and signed up for their newsletter. I got a call the next day, them reaching out to me.

        Because it was so sudden, I wondered if this was supposed to be in my life. I took admissions very slowly. Each step got prayed about, to see if it were me who wanted it, or if God had lead me to it.

        Two days ago I was accepted and registered for my fall classes. I start August 28th. I still prayed about it, and yesterday I walked past a teenager sitting on the ground, her body pulled in tight and head down. I stopped and asked her if she was ok. She lifted her head, and I saw that she wasn’t. I sat down next to her and just talked. She was homeless and her life was in shambles. At one point I did bring up God, but her defenses went up, so I just went and talked to her some more. It got to a time when I had to leave to get to a dr appt. I gave her my name and number and told her she could call me anytime.

        She called me today, crying. She then asked me if I could talk to her about God, because she had given up all hope. I talked with her for a couple of hours, and researched help for the homeless in our town. I told her my church gives away food between 9-11am in Tuesday and Thursday. Hoping that I see her there tomorrow.

        With that, came a sign from God. Yes, I am meant to do this, and my life experiences would turn around to be used for good, and for what He wants.

      • Wow, Harley! Fantastic about making yourself open and available. One of our family values is to Love Others – as one part of the Great Commandment. We make ourselves available and do what we can. That’s what you did for this precious young lady. Thank you!

        Regarding Liberty University – I hope you enjoy it! I took their Autism Certificate program nearly four years ago – all on-line. It helped me keep my teaching certificate valid for another five years. I liked the professors and appreciated the interaction among my fellow students with the various questions we had to answer together and respond. It’s a big deal to go school and I pray that you continue to be affirmed each step of the way! Blessings and joy, heather

      • Thank you for the good review of Liberty. They have been quite helpful and on top of things, so I already have a feeling that it will be a wonderful learning experience.

        Unfortunately, she didn’t show up for food the next day, but I got a quick call from her today asking what time church was. I let her know, and she hsaid she really couldn’t talk, but thanked me for the info again. I’m praying for her. I’m praying that God embraces her and opens her mind… and gives her comfort so that she won’t be intimidated to go somewhere new.

        At the church I go to now, I was brought to a couple of times my senior year of high school. I, however, didn’t get much out of it. It didn’t focus on learning or reading the bible, nor being saved. I learned that the youth leader got pregnant out of wedlock and left the church after another year.

        Still, I needed something, so I became a practicing Wiccan. I had just stopped and left that behind when I had this sudden urge to go to church. I remembered the one I was brought to a few times, and searched for it. It really took me awhile because they had changed their name. When I went and looked at their “leadership team” I knew I was in the right place. God was definitely working on my heart that day.

      • Wow – you have had a number of significant life experiences! Thank you for sharing with me! Your diversified life truly offers others a place of welcome and understanding.

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